Hillsdale College Opens Washington Center

On Monday, Hillsdale College announced the launch of its new Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, DC. The primary work of the Center will be instruction for Hillsdale College students, but will also offer “seminars on American history and political thought, economics, literature, and other topics to interested citizens in the Washington area,” according to Hillsdale spokesman Joseph Cella.

“Hillsdale College was founded 164 years ago on the idea that learning is the surest support of liberty. So while opening a Washington campus is something new, our mission remains unchanged,” said Hillsdale President Larry P. Arnn. Arnn said the Center would focus on “the perspective of the people who founded this country.”

Virginia Thomas, the former director of executive branch relations for the Heritage Foundation, was appointed to serve as Hillsdale’s Associate Vice President of Washington Operations.

The Center will mainly serve Hillsdale students who are in Washington as interns or on fellowships, Arnn and Thomas said, but will also offer programs available to the public. The Center is currently operating in temporary quarters, but will move to a newly renovated building on Massachusetts Avenue in September 2010.

The College’s main campus in Hillsdale, Michigan, is home to 1,300 students—about 40 of whom participate in Washington-area internships each year, Arnn said. Hillsdale is well-known for its academic emphasis on Western heritage, American history, and the Constitution.

The mission of the new Center, Thomas said, is to promote “limited Constitutional government principles.”

“Hillsdale has so much to offer this city—the teaching of timeless ideas that are vital to preserving freedom,” Thomas said. “I am honored to be joining Hillsdale College as it extends its mission to Washington.”